Best Practices for SMS and Text Message Marketing Campaigns (and what to avoid)

Whether you're new to SMS and text message marketing or a seasoned pro, there's always room to refine your strategy. Following best practices leaves room for creativity and testing your results while improving your open and click-through rates. There's also plenty to avoid or risk losing your audience before they ever convert. 

Before you set up your next text message marketing campaign, learn what to do and what absolutely not to do. 

Best Practices to Try in Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Get started on your next campaign with these best practices to use in SMS and text message marketing. 

Add Value

Above all else, you need to add value to your SMS and text message marketing campaigns. Sending out texts with the sole purpose of staying on the top of your customers' minds isn't an impactful strategy. Instead, your customers aren't likely to remember much about your texts if there's no value or takeaway. 

It's also important not to overthink the concept of value and throw too much into a text message that should be succinct. Your customers get value from your promo codes, coupons, or reminders. If you sell a service or product, consider throwing in an actionable tip or link to a broader value-driven piece. For example, your text campaign could lead to a YouTube video tutorial or microsite with more in-depth information and strategies. 

Invite Engagement

Just because your customers receive SMS marketing reminders and promos doesn't mean you can't spark engagement. Some text message campaigns lead to an open dialogue for the customer to ask questions about the products. Other brands open up the channel to perform some customer service touch points. Instead of making your customers deal with the phone, they can text you their questions in real-time. 

Studies show that 74% of consumers prefer texting with businesses if a real person is texting back. Simply inviting customers to leave feedback about their experience or purchase are a few ways to start. You could gather valuable insights on how to make your business better or collect new testimonials in the process. 

Segment Your SMS Marketing List

Your SMS and text messaging software should include the capability to segment your list and audience. For example, try segmenting your list by previous actions taken, their age, where they live, and their hobbies. Once you have a clear idea of the different aspects of your list, it's far easier to create customized and personalized campaigns that speak directly to each segment.

Make it Personal

You can create a personal yet professional SMS marketing campaign by adding some customization. When possible, use your text message marketing software to include the customers' first names. 

Consider the primary demographics of your audience. If you know your customers are primarily B2B tech companies, think about how you can cater to your audience. Speak to your customers' pain points and offer the solutions and value they need.

Keep it Personable

Being personal and personable in marketing are two different things. You can use someone's first name in a text message marketing campaign, but that doesn't make it personable. Instead, try using a tone that reflects your business model and demographic. 

A law firm doesn't need to get into too much jargon or drop emojis and references to being BFFs. But a mountain biking company would likely benefit from throwing in some slang and warmth that makes their audience feel like friendly acquaintances.

A/B Test Your Results

Even meticulously researched and executed SMS and texting messaging campaigns benefit from A/B testing. Consider launching two different campaigns with different subject headings, offers, and sales copy to see which performs better. You can also dig into your list to see which demographics of your list respond to each text the most. 

When you A/B test your results, you can make informed decisions about future campaigns. The effort could lower your marketing costs, increase your click-through rates, and improve conversions.

What to Avoid in Text Message Marketing

Now that you have an idea of the best practices and strategies for your text messaging campaigns, here's what to absolutely avoid. 

Texting Without Permission

Don't assume your most loyal and engaged customers want to hear from you. Texting without permission is a surefire way to lose customers and violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Without specific consent through an opt-in, a business cannot text an individual, even if a long-standing relationship exists. 

You also can't rely on verbal consent. Instead, the customer needs to text a keyword to opt-in, an online form, or enter their number into a website popup. It's also essential to stay transparent and give more details about what they're subscribing to, how many messages they should expect to receive in a week or month, and a link to your privacy policy and terms and conditions. 

Beyond tangles with the TCPA, texting your customers with abandon could also violate the CAN-SPAM Act. The act makes it illegal for businesses to send unwanted text messages. There are some exceptions. You're allowed to send a customer information about an existing transaction, like when their package has shipped. 

Texting at Inappropriate Times

If you have customers across multiple time zones, you need to consider when you're deploying your texts. Sending your west coast people texts at 6 a.m. that your east coast audience gets at 9 a.m. is poor form. You're likely to encounter angry customers who don't appreciate the early wake-up time.

Text Bombing

Frequent texting is fine; just make sure it offers value and warrants the time for your customers to read your marketing message. Even if your audience loves your SMS marketing message, they'll quickly grow weary over repeated texts. Instead of capturing their attention, text bombing will lead to opt-outs or ignoring your messages altogether. 

Relying on Abbreviations

Abbreviations in text message marketing may save time and space but could frustrate your customers. Not everyone is savvy to abbreviations or understands your message. Depending on your audience, they may see the use of abbreviations as unprofessional and question your credibility. 

If you're going to use an abbreviation, make sure it's universal and warranted. For example, there's no reason to spell out "Thank Goodness Its Friday" when "TGIF" is the go-to standard. But skip over abbreviations like LMK (let me know) or BH (to be honest).  

Making it Too Personal

Have you ever received a text marketing message with dozens of emojis and slang like "TIA?" Or maybe the business sent two or three texts in a row discussing the need for more sales in a post-pandemic world? You probably opted out before the fourth message showed up in your alerts.

Avoid making your SMS text message too personal. Keep a personable but professional tone that respects your audience as the customer. If you feel the need to open up on a personal level, save it for a blog post or YouTube video instead.

Final Thoughts

The best SMS and text message marketing practices put your customer's interests and comfort front and center. Focus on value, avoid unnecessary fluff, and keep it professional without being boring. With some strategy and refinement, your SMS and text message marketing campaigns will convert to the sales you're looking for and grow your brand messaging as something worthy to opt into. 

Ready to get started with SMS and text message marketing for your business? Contact us today.